In a time when energy bills are skyrocketing, no homeowner can afford to run the air conditioning or heating more than they have to. Besides, if you are concerned about the environment, you can do your part to avoid contributing to the residential side of the problem. Even if that is the furthest thing from your mind, you can put a lot of money back in your pocket by making sure your home is trapping as much energy as possible. Here are some methods you can employ to test your home’s efficiency and make sure you’re getting the most out of your insulating materials.
Insulation is measured with a rating system known as the “R-Value.” This rating system is uniform, but there are several factors about where you live that will determine what you need in your home. Your local building supply store will likely have a weather zone map you can look at and determine your climate zone. With this information, you can discover what R-value is best for your area. What does the R-value measure? Thickness, primarily. Those who live in more moderate climates can get away with a much thinner layer of material than those who live in a harsher climate, said some wall painters.
Unless you have paperwork on hand detailing what kind of insulation you installed, you will have to physically measure the material yourself to determine the R-value. Go up into the attic with a roof truss cross member and plunge the ruler between the insulation and the cross member. Stop when you run into the drywall and make sure you aren’t running into wiring. From there, take note of the measurement and compare it to the thickness recommended for your climate zone. If you are at or above that number, you should be fine and you can turn your attention to other methods of improving your energy efficiency. If not, you may want to consider additional installation.
Taking it as a given that you will spend some time to find a good contractor, you can’t do as good a job installing insulation on your own as a professional will. It is highly recommended that you go this route if you want the job done right. If you do want to go it alone, at least try to find someone with some experience who can lend a hand or give you advice on how to go about accomplishing the job.